Next Monday, August 5, the premier Northern Territory race will take place with the running of the Darwin Cup 2013– nominations and weights for which have now been released.
While not officially holding black type status, the $200,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m) is worth plenty of prize money and is a prestigious new-season feature for the contenders and punters alike.
This year the Darwin Cup weights are topped by the Neil Dyer-trained Hawks Bay who has been allocated a hefty 65kg.
It’s going to take a colossal effort from the Kyneton-trained Black Hawk gelding, a rising eight-year-old, who hasn’t won a race since last year’s Darwin Cup.
Their narrow victory in the classic last winter was also their fourth consecutive Darwin Cup appearance following two second place finishes in 2009 and 2010 and then back-to-back wins in 2011 and 2012.
Last year they held off Bolton (57kg) by a mere nose when carrying a massive 64.5kg but can they handle half a kilo more to do it again in 2013?
Hawks Bay was last seen running a distant seventh at Fannie Bay on July 27 over the mile with 66kg on their back suggesting the weight might get the better of them even when they step back up to the 2000m.
Dyer could also be represented this year by Bel Sir and Palmyra Boy who are roughies to make the capacity 12-horse Darwin Cup field sitting 19th and 15th respectively.
Following Hawks Bay in the Darwin Cup 2013 weights are three other horses with 60kg or above.
The next heaviest weighted is the now John Stanton-trained Red Colossus (61kg) who is a former Group 3 winner in Melbourne followed by Thumbtacks (60.5kg) recently transferred from Chris Waller (Sydney) to Mark Nyhan (Alice Springs) and Extra Zero (60kg).
Last year’s Darwin Cup runner-up Bolton meanwhile is also nominated for another shot this year, the Stephen Brown-trained Zabeel gelding coming off a fifth to Spartan Eagle, also nominated for the Darwin Cup, in the Metric Mile at Fannie Bay on July 27.
They get in well on 55kg which is actually two kilos less than their weight last year but will have to improve on their runs over the past year as they’ve been beaten three or more lengths in every one of their runs since last year’s Darwin Cup result.
Brown has also nominated for The Big Steel (57kg) who will be vying for their third win on the trot following successive victories over 1600m and then 1900m at Fannie Bay this month, and young Host gelding Host Of The Party (54.5kg) who sit first and second on the Darwin Cup ballot.
Host Of The Party, who turns four on Thursday, has won their past three races including their last for former trainer Robert Smerdon in Melbourne back at the start of June.
Their most recent effort was an eye-catching three length victory in the Northern Territory Derby over the 2000m on July 20 where they carried 58kg, the drop back three and a half kilos for the Cup to work in their favour.
Another from his stables Hierarchy meanwhile is in danger of missing a run sitting 18th on the order of entry.
See below for the official Darwin Cup 2013 nominations and weights.
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2013 Darwin Cup Nominations & Weights
Darwin Racecourse – 05/08/2013
|1||HAWKS BAY||Neil Dyer||3||65kg||110|
|2||RED COLOSSUS||John Stanton||4||61kg||96|
|3||THUMBTACKS (NZ)||Mark Nyhan||5||60.5kg||95|
|4||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes||6||60kg||94|
|5||THE RUFFIAN||Sheila Arnold||7||57.5kg||89|
|6||CONSTANT FORCE||Bill & Symon Wilde||8||57kg||88|
|7||THE BIG STEEL||Stephen Brown||1||57kg||88|
|9||BOLTON (NZ)||Stephen Brown||10||55kg||84|
|10||GENEROUS BEAU||Todd Balfour||11||55kg||84|
|11||HOST OF THE PARTY||Stephen Brown||2||54.5kg||83|
|13||BEL SIR||Neil Dyer||19||54kg||70|
|15||FRANK THE RIPPER||Daniel J Clarke||23||54kg||64|
|18||IGLES STAR||Chris Pollard||12||54kg||82|
|19||LE BEAU CHEVAL||Greg Connor||17||54kg||74|
|20||MR JANSZ||Russell Bell||21||54kg||69|
|21||PALMYRA BOY||Neil Dyer||15||54kg||79|
|22||PORT VELL (NZ)||Greg Connor||13||54kg||82|
|23||SPARTAN EAGLE||Bob Richard||14||54kg||79|